Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 18 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Medieval philosophers used the language of cause and effect as frequently as philosophers do now. Viewed very, very broadly, they had in mind a similar notion, at least when they were speaking of efficient causality (and even the three other types of Aristotelian cause — material, formal, and final — can be brought loosely under this concept): causes are in some sense prior to their effects, which they produce and the existence of which they explain. Viewed more closely, medieval notions of causality are sharply different from contemporary ones, and these differences are especially evident in explicit discussions of causation. This article discusses the idea of essential causation. It looks at the aspect of medieval thought about causation that seems to come closest to the modern debates instigated by Hume, the supposed medieval occasionalists such as the Islamic thinker al-Ghazali (1058–1111) and the Parisian Arts Master and student of theology, Nicholas of Autrecourt (d. 1369), and the critiques of occasionalism offered by Averroes (c.1126–98), who wrote in Muslim Spain, and Aquinas.

Keywords: cause and effect, medieval philosophy, efficient causality, Aristotelian cause, causality, essential causation

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.